Do you want to contribute to top quality medical research?

To be a doctoral student means to devote oneself to a research project under supervision of experienced researchers and following an individual study plan. For a doctoral degree, the equivalent of four years of full-time doctoral education is required.

The research group

The team Innate Immune Responses led by Assistant Professor Soham Gupta in the Systems Virology Lab, Division of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine is looking for a highly motivated doctoral student to study the regulation of immunometabolic pathways by the virus-encoded deubiquitinases and deISGylases.

The research focus of the team is to understand the interplay between viruses and the host immune system using integrative approaches. We aim to understand how the host innate immune responses are regulated during viral infections and how viruses can circumvent these antiviral responses by targeting ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like modifications such as ISG15.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

Increasing evidence indicates the role of imbalanced immunometabolism in the virus-induced pathology. These cellular functions are regulated by post-translational modifications by ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like polypeptides (UbLs), such as ISG15. Interfering with the UbL-dependent processes through deconjugation is a powerful strategy used by the virus to dysregulate cell intrinsic defenses and promote infection. Viral proteases encoded by RNA viruses like the Coronavirus papain-like protease (PLpro) and Nairovirus OTU-like protease (Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, CCHFV-L1 protein) has deubiquitinase (DUB) and deISGylase (DISG) activity, which can cause antiviral and metabolic reprogramming. We have previously studied the DUB activity of herpesvirus large tegument protein (Epstein-Barr virus, EBV-BPLF1; Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, KSHV-ORF64). However, a knowledge gap persists in the mechanism of action of different classes of viral DUBs and DISGs.

The doctoral student will perform research to achieve mechanistic insights of the viral DUB and DISG mediated reprogramming of cellular immunometabolic pathways to guide the development of new effective strategies for counteracting the short- and long-term consequences of infection.

The student will understand the infection biology of emerging/re-emerging RNA viruses and herpesvirus reactivation. The student will develop specialized knowledge on viral modulation of Ub and UbL modifications. The study will use cutting edge proteomics methodologies and the student will learn how to manage large data sets and develop analysis strategy.

The research project will be co-supervised by Prof. Maria Masucci, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology and Dr. Akos Vegvari, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet.

What do we offer?

A creative and inspiring environment full of expertise and curiosity. Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities. Our vision is to pursue the development of knowledge about life and to promote a better health for all. At Karolinska Institutet, we conduct successful medical research and hold the largest range of medical education in Sweden. As a doctoral student you are offered an individual research project, a well-educated supervisor, a vast range of elective courses and the opportunity to work in a leading research group. Karolinska Institutet collaborates with prominent universities from all around the world, which ensures opportunities for international exchanges. You will be employed on a doctoral studentship which means that you receive a contractual salary. Employees also have access to our modern gym for free and receive reimbursements for medical care.

Eligibility requirements for doctoral education

In order to participate in the selection for a doctoral position, you must meet the following general (A) and specific (B) eligibility requirements at latest by the application deadline.

It is your responsibility to certify eligibility by following the instructions on the web page Entry requirements (eligibility) for doctoral education.

A) General eligibility requirement

You meet the general eligibility requirement for doctoral/third-cycle/PhD education if you:

  1. have been awarded a second-cycle/advanced/master qualification (i.e. master degree), or
  2. have satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the advanced/second-cycle/master level, or
  3. have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.*

Follow the instructions on the web page Entry requirements (eligibility) for doctoral education.

*If you claim equivalent knowledge, follow the instructions on the web page Assessing equivalent knowledge for general eligibility for doctoral education.


B) Specific eligibility requirement

You meet the specific eligibility requirement for doctoral/third-cycle/PhD education if you:

- Show proficiency in English equivalent to the course English B/English 6 at Swedish upper secondary school.

Follow the instructions on the web page English language requirements for doctoral education.

Verification of your documents Karolinska Institutet checks the authenticity of your documents. Karolinska Institutet reserves the right to revoke admission if supporting documents are discovered to be fraudulent. Submission of false documents is a violation of Swedish law and is considered grounds for legal action.

(A) and (B) can only be certified by the documentation requirement for doctoral education.

Skills and personal qualities

We are looking for highly motivated and enthusiastic candidate with clear interest in the research conducted in our lab. The ideal candidate should possess the ability to collaborate effectively with the research team while also demonstrating self-motivation to independently carry out responsibilities and propel the project forward. Being in an international and interdisciplinary research environment with extensive international collaborations, the candidate must be proficient in communicating and writing in English.

For this project it is required that the applicant has a background and hands on experience in standard biochemical and molecular biological techniques like western blot, immunoprecipitation, qPCR, site directed mutagenesis, etc., in addition to mammalian cell culture.

It is an advantage if the candidate has the knowledge and work experience on ubiquitin-proteasome system and viral ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like deconjugases.

Terms and conditions

The doctoral student will be employed on a doctoral studentship maximum 4 years full-time.

Application process

Submit your application and supporting documents through the Varbi recruitment system. Use the button in the top right corner and follow the instructions. We prefer that your application is written in English, but you can also apply in Swedish.

Your application must contain the following documents:

- A personal letter and a curriculum vitae
- Degree projects and previous publications, if any
- Any other documentation showing the desirable skills and personal qualities described above
- Documents certifying your general eligibility (see A above)
- Documents certifying your specific eligibility (see B above)


A selection will be made among eligible applicants on the basis of the ability to benefit from doctoral education. The qualifications of the applicants will be evaluated on an overall basis.

Karolinska Institutet uses the following bases of assessment:

- Documented subject knowledge of relevance to the area of research
- Analytical skill
- Other documented knowledge or experience that may be relevant to doctoral studies in the subject.

All applicants will be informed when the recruitment is completed.


Want to make a difference? Join us and contribute to better health for all

Type of employment PhD placement
Contract type Full time
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-2384/2023
  • Soham Gupta,
Union representative
  • Carina Eklund, OFR, 08-58582665
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
  • Emilie Hultin, SACO, 08-52483286
Published 09.Jun.2023
Last application date 15.Jul.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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